Week in Review 12-3 to 12-9

Mountain Home city treasurer, deputy treasurer resign

The issue regarding the domicile of the Mountain Home city treasurer has resurfaced, leading to the resignations of both the city treasurer and deputy treasurer. City Clerk Brian Plumlee says Mountain Home City Treasurer Deborah Cotter and Deputy Treasurer Chris McDaris have both submitted letters of resignation to the city council and Mayor Joe Dillard. The two have given three-day notices of resignation, with their final day of employment with the city set for Thursday.

The resignations follow action by the city council in early November after research of an Arkansas Attorney General's opinion indicated the city treasurer must reside within the city limits. The topic of residency surfaced when it was learned Cotter was considering moving outside the city limits.

At the time of the November action, city officials indicated after the review of the AG opinion, Cotter had advised she would maintain her domicile within the city limits.

However, in Cotter's resignation letter dated Monday that she provided to KTLO, Classic Hits 101.7 and The Boot news, she states the conditions of her position have changed after being employed with the city for eight years. The conditions now require her to reside in the city limits, and her personal circumstances make it impossible for her to continue her employment.

Cotter says in her letter in order to comply with the city's requirement, she is sleeping on a sofa as a guest in her son's home. She says her responsibilities are at home, outside the city limits, with her husband.

Tuesday evening, the Mountain Home City Council's Administrative Committee adjourned into executive session to address the matter. A recommendation was made to hire an accounting firm through contract labor until the positions can be filled. City protocol is to advertise in-house for five days. According to Plumlee, after that time, the city will advertise for the position.

Mayor Dillard will hire the deputy treasurer, and the treasurer will be hired by the city council.


Cotter nurse charged following death of patient

A Baxter County woman, 58-year-old Cynthia Sakian of Cotter, has been charged with misdemeanor first degree assault following the death of her nursing home patient after she allegedly administered the wrong medications to her.

According to the arrest affidavit made available online Wednesday morning through the Administrative Office of the Courts, the charge follows an incident in January at the Gassville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

In written and verbal statements to the nursing home administration, Sakian said she had prepared insulin and Lantus for her patient before being called down the hall. When she returned, she gathered the morphine and Percocet prescribed for another patient, setting them next to the insulin and Lantus syringes. After stopping for a restroom visit, she returned to the patient's room and mistakenly administered the morphine and Percocet.

Sakian said she failed to label the cups of medications or compare them to the medication administration record, as required by policy and nursing practice, prior to administering the them.

The patient receiving the wrong medications was transported to Baxter Regional Medical Center, where she died two days later after complications.

An autopsy performed at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory indicates the cause of death as complications of narcotic intoxication and the manner of death as accidental.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

Sakian's bond was set at $1,000.

Further review of Sakian's personnel record reveals six other incidents of medicine errors dating back to 2015. The affidavit does not specify where Sakian was employed during the other incidents.


MH man wanted on rape, assault of officer charges detained

A traffic stop in Ozark County has led to the arrest of a Baxter County man, 25-year-old Jordan Haden of Mountain Home, wanted on charges of rape and assault of a law enforcement officer out of Kansas.

Missouri Highway Patrol reports Haden was arrested Saturday evening just before midnight. Details on the location or the circumstances of the arrest were not made available.

The Ozark County Times is reporting the incident occurred in Gainesville.

In addition to the Kansas charges, Haden has an open case in Ozark County dating to November 2016 when he was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated. A check revealed he was also wanted on misdemeanor warrants out of Nebraska.

Ozark County Prosecutor John Garrabrant says Haden is being held in the Ozark County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Haden is scheduled to appear in court in Ozark County next week to address extradition issues.


After guilty plea in Baxter County, Joshua Long faces similar charges in Ozark County

A Mountain Home resident, 36-year-old Joshua Aaron Long, who pled guilty in a negotiated plea in Baxter County Circuit Court in late November to charges associated with burglarizing a Gassville Home, now faces charges in a similar incident in Ozark County.

Ozark County Prosecutor John Garrabrant said late Thursday felony charges of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, and burglary have been filed against Long. Records indicate he has also been charged with trespassing and property damage.

According to the probable cause statement filed Thursday, the latest incident was investigated November 26th when an Ozark County deputy responded to a call at a house being cleaned in preparation for new residents.

The worker said he had noticed a truck parked in the roadway in front of the house earlier in the day. When he went to the house later in the afternoon to begin cleaning, he was originally unable to gain access because the door was screwed shut.

After gaining entry, he smelled cigarette smoke coming from inside and realized someone was in the house. He left the building and went to a neighbor's. When he returned a short time later, he noticed the sliding door facing the roadway was open, and he observed a man, later identified as Long, attempting to enter the vehicle and leave.

The man stopped Long and asked for him to remain there until law enforcement arrived.

The responding deputy said he noticed Long was wearing women's clothing and makeup, along with a wig and Muck boots. He was also smoking a cigarette. Long told the officer his truck ran out of gas, and a friend had just dropped him off some gas.

Prints matching Long's boots were found inside the residence, along with a cigarette butt and women's garments.

Long was placed under arrest and transported to the Ozark County Sheriff's Office. During the interview, Long is alleged to have admitted entering the building and confirming the women's clothes were his.

In a search of his vehicle, a small bag of a crystal substance field testing positive for methamphetamine was found in the driver's visor.

Long recently pled guilty in Baxter County Circuit Court to charges of residential burglary, theft of property, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was given five years' probation and ordered to pay just over $1,400 restitution.

The incident began on the evening of July, 7th when a Gassville Police Officer was dispatched to 204 Smith Lane for a home intruder. On arrival, the officer made contact with the victim who said she and her husband own a home on Smith Lane and have been coming up on the weekends to renovate the residence. The distraught victim said she encountered a half naked man described as five-foot-ten to five-foot-eleven with dark hair, dressed in women's clothing, who fled on foot.

The officer tracked Long to a nearby home, and he was taken into custody.

In the Ozark County case, Long was issued a $5,000 cash only bond.


MH School Board receives Excellence in Leadership Award

The Mountain Home Board of Education has been named this year's recipient of the Second Annual School Board of Excellence in Leadership Award. The award was given by the Arkansas School Boards Association.

Two excellence awards are given annually. Mountain Home's board won the category for boards serving districts with 900 or more students. The Salem Board of Education won the award for the category of boards serving districts with less than 900 students.

According to the ASBA's website, several criteria were used in selecting this year's recipients. The ASBA look for boards supporting educational performance and educational improvement projects. Winning boards also showed a commitment to a code of ethics, maintained harmonious and supportive relationships among members of the board, functioned as a policy-making body with adherence to adopted policies, and provided financial support for the school system. The ASBA also looked at the board members' participation in workshops and other improvement programs and their public relations efforts.

Mountain Home Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jake Long says the role of a board member can be very difficult with many people trying to influence them for certain agendas, but he's proud of their ability to create a supportive team focused on students.

The board was recognized during a special ceremony at the ASBA annual conference Friday morning.

Board members include President Neal Pendergrass, Vice President Bill Wehmeyer, Secretary Arnold Knox, Barbara Horton, Lisa House, Jason Schmeski and Dan Smakal.

Ben Strider served as board member during the 2016-17 school year when the performance standards were measured and when the board was nominated.

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